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News & Press: Health & Safety

Lunch and Labour Intensive Environments

Thursday, 30 August 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ernest Roper
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Lunch, especially in labour intensive environments such as construction sites, is an extremely important meal. It speaks to the well being of staff and their ability to perform well in dangerous circumstances. These include working at heights, operating heavy machinery, working with electrical equipment and potentially harmful tools. informs us that across all heavy industries such as construction, oil, gas, energy and manufacturing, the cost of a tired, distracted or hungry worker can have detrimental effects. “It’s estimated that in the U.K., skipping a meal costs the U.K. economy £300 million a year, because hungry workers are less productive. In the U.S., research on diet and worker productivity suggests that not only do businesses lose productivity when workers call in sick or have long-term illnesses, but they also lose out when workers’ minds are less than alert, which can be directly attributed to bad nutrition. This sort of ‘mental sluggishness’, the report states, can lead to lower output, lost innovation and even accidents.”

According to South African Labour Law, employers are obligated to provide a meal break after 5 continuous hours of work. In today’s modern world, many professionals and office workers opt to skip meal breaks due to looming deadlines. 

It is, however pleasing to note that on construction sites throughout the KwaZulu-Natal province, the siren wails, the tools go down and workers head off on lunch breaks.  In this environment it is crucial to eat, as eating restores energy levels, reduces stress and helps with concentration. 

In the building industry, employers are required to have designated areas where employees can relax during a meal interval away from the construction site. This creates a peaceful environment in which to rest and also encourages proper hygiene, reducing the likelihood of illnesses. 

Roger Maharaj | Area Manager Northern Natal

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